Last week I was trying to find a local business that I had never been to, so naturally, I whipped my smart phone from the back pocket of my jeans and typed the business name into maps. But much to my chagrin, it couldn’t return any search results (cue exasperated sigh).
So then I went to their competitor instead. Kidding! I had to pull up a browser, search for the business website, troll for a physical location, copy the address and then put that address into maps. Obviously, this was a laborious process. I know you know the feeling.
I think this problem–this business existing in real life but not listed on mobile maps–is one that most business owners know about, yet somehow escapes them that they, too, might be guilty. Like when your husband forgets your birthday (I mean who does that?!), and then two weeks later you forget his, too (sorry, dear, I was just so, SO busy today!!). Or maybe you know you really should be listed in map search results, but you just don’t know how to get listed. But this rapidly changing world of on-the-go technology has more implications for your business than just mobile map searching.
Are you under 35? If yes, when is the last time you tried a new restaurant or another service-based business without using a review site like Yelp?
If you are over 35, ask someone you know who is under 35. Really. My parents still rely on the recommendation of friends, but exclusively using friend referrals isn’t just slowly going by the wayside. It is vanishing. as. we. speak. Trust me, I’m a Millenial. 😉
So here is where I make it easy and tell you what to do:
- If you have a business, you must have a website. Any website. But preferably one that does not look like it was designed on Angelfire in 1998. It should say what you do. It should have a call to action. It should definitely have your address loud and clear (if you have a physical location) or your phone number or email address (if you do not). Websites convey legitimacy. Not having a website makes a potential customer’s eyebrow go up, like, if this business doesn’t have a website, are they really a business or a just a front for illegal mob activity?
I am not in the business of recommending one specific web design site, but I do help design websites.
- If you have a physical location, your business must be listed on mobile map search results. Get listed on Google maps by clicking on this little url https://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/. Also, list your business on Factual, which should serve to populate Apple maps.
- If you are a service-based business, you should be listed on review sites like Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Angie’s List, etc. Pick the one that works for you or pick as many as you can.
According to an NPR story, Amazon discovered that even products with negative reviews sell better than products with no reviews. So it seems that even mediocre ratings are better than no ratings for you as a business owner. Counter-intuitive, I know. Besides, think of reviews as free market research! Do you know how much people used to pay for that kind of feedback? If you get negative reviews, listen to them, be gracious and make adjustments as needed. Whatever you do, do not be like Amy.
Now go on, you can do it!